A starry quilt

Some time in the last century, I bought a set of fat quarters. It could have been around 1998. Ever since then, I have been getting them out, deciding I want to do something really nice with them, and putting them away again.

Then I found a pattern of big wonky stars, in bright colours on a white background. I liked the design, but it occurred to me that all that plain space could be made up of my toning rose prints.

So I set to work. I wanted to make sure I used as much of the roses as possible, so I made it a bit bigger, and I put the pieces together as I went. The result is that the stars are a bit sparce. And the lesson is don’t tinker with a perfectly good design without thinking it through first!

I decided to make some more stars. I cut 2″ squares of paper, and then some random paper triangles to keep the wonky theme going and did what seems to be called English patchwork these days. After I had oversewn the shapes together I hemmed them down. By the time I’ve quilted round them, they blend in nicely. The original idea was to quilt stars in the spaces, but with all the pattern on the fabric it didn’t show up. So a few more stars works well.

So here is the finished quilt. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is totally finished. I think it might need one more star. But that might be too much. I’m not putting the yellow fabrics away just yet, in case I decide it does need that extra star. But as you can see, when it is on the back of the sofa, all you can see is the pretty rose prints.

So now I see those roses much more regularly than I did.

So that is a result!

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Quilted people at the Festival of Quilts 2019

This group of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, is really impressive.

These fabulous creations show various techniques for representing people.

The quilt of Cinderella and the ugly sisters on the left is by Beverley Rebelo, from Antrim. She has used lots of different materials and embelishments, including Inktense crayons, and hand and machine embroidery to create a whole range of patterns.

You certainly need a design board to acheive the photographic effect. It must take many hours just to get the pieces of fabric in the right order, ready to sew together.

The first photographic quilt is of Audrey Hepburn, made in inch squares of grey and white. It took Robyn Martin from Mt Mellum, Austrailia, two years to complete. One of the pictures includes a close up showing my hand, to emphasis the scale:

The next is a picture of a picnic under a tree:

Now another face, this time by Catriona Haggart, from Edinburgh has made a portrait of Prince:

The next one is called Stories of St Nicholas, and has been made by a group for the church in Fyfield, Essex:

There was a whole section of work by Tatiana Sinitsina, an architect from Moscow who has been a keen patchworker since the 1990s:

And finally, some other quilts involving people:

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Shaded patchwork at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Today’s collection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, shows some of the effecs that can be achieved when you use a wide range of colours within a very limited palette.

Most quilts depend on the cntrast between the “pattern” and the “background” fabrics, but here the colour gradually fades away, leaving the quilting to continue the design.

This effect certainly takes a lot of planning and will power!

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Foraging bag

When I am out and about and I see a useful leaf, it is handy to just pop it into my bag, or a pocket. Then, of course, it gets damaged as it gets muddled with other things, or I forget all about it.

So I thought it would be a good idea to have a foraging bag to keep in the car. I don’t want to use a plastic bag, and from time to time I will find something that is a bit messy.

Then I remembered this bag. It had several holes in it, so it can’t be used for its original purpose. I have been keeping it to use the fabric for something else. Those ladybirds are rather nice. They definitely need using for something.

So I decided to have some fun patching up the bag. The plastic lining that originally gave it some strength has mostly come off, so it needed strengthening in a few strategic places, so the first job was to patch the holes and darn the weaker places.

Then I added a few extra patches and some embroidery, just for the fun of it. I was going to limit myself to recycled fabrics, but I couldn’t resist this cheap, sturdy lace in Dunelm. I’m not sure what it was intended for (they called it cutting lace), but it was far stiffer than any lace I’ve seen before. I’ve used it to make an outside pocket for an umbrella, and embroidered more of it to add to the effect.

The result is a foraging bag, with pockets inside for my snips and keys. I expect some more darning will be needed at some point, but I am not expecting to be carrying much weight, do it should last for a while!

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Two colour quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

I was planning to split this collection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, into two posts, one for red and white, and one for blue and white.

But when I went through the pictures, there were not as many red ones as I remembered.

It still shows how much variety you can make out of a very linited pallette.

And by the way, notice the quilt for the 50th anniversary of walking on the moon in this set:

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Seamless cast on

If you are knitting a hat starting from the top of the crown, or a sock starting from the toe, this might help.

The stitches for both sides are cast on at the same time, so there is no seam to do later.

If you are an Elizabeth Zimmerman fan, you might want to try knitting a top down jumper with this cast on at the shoulders.

Here is the link for Judy’s magic cast on.

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Shetland Knitters on Tonight in 1964

This fabulous clip from Tonight in 1964 needs no explanation.

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Miniature quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Today’s selection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, is a collection of minature quilts.

To enter this class, quilts must be no more than 30cms on the longest side. In a photo where there is no indication of scale, it should look like a full sized quilt or wall hanging.

I haven’t cropped these pictutes much, so you get more idea of the size.

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Tips for sewing better collars


Collars are important. Not only are they one of the main features in garment design, setting the feel of the garment, but also people tend to focus on them, as they are so near your face.

You cannot afford to mess up your collar.

So this list of 10 top tips for sewing collars is a good thing to read.

Although it isn’t as comprehensive as the diagram on the left. That is a whole different story.

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Sampler quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

If you look on Pinterest, you will find all manner of designs for sampler quilts. A sampler gives you the chance to explore a range of blocks and sew them together into a finished quilt, or a cushion if you are less ambitious.

You can tie it all together with a colour scheme, or limit yourself to a theme lioke stars.

You can decide on one size for your block, or work it so that several sizes fit together.

As you can see here, you can even make it  into a book hanging, if you are clever enough to handle perspective at the same time.

One sampler deserves a group of pictures on its own, as the main “sampler” section is so small, as you can see from the picture of my hand:

This one is more like a series of panels:

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